So, as always I do not own Twilight. This chapter was a hard one to write. I hope you guys like it and let me know what you think of it. Special thanks to fellow ff writer the cornergirl, she helped me work out what it was I wanted to do and it made this chapter easier to write. Go check her out!
As always, reviews heal Darkward's wounds!
It was our second day of hiking in the Hoh Rain Forest. Going off the trail hadn't been as hard as I expected. We basically just walked off into the woods. The trees here with thick and vibrantly green. Moss hung low to the ground from the many braches. The beauty was lost on my one track mind.
We'd brought a compass, a map, all of which had been provided in the cardboard box left on my porch a few days before. I didn't think they would lead me straight to them. All my instincts told me not to follow the map, that it was probably a trap. I didn't care.
Getting Em from under Edward's nose had been more difficult. We had to be patient, for a couple of hours we had lingered on Em's porch, pretending to be enjoying the sunny weather. As soon as Edward left to go see Jasper, Alice, and Rose at his parents, trusting me to keep watch on my twin, we had headed toward Em's Jeep.
"Are you sure we are going the right way," Em asked.
All through high school I had helped out the local girl scouts at their camp over the summer. Charlie has taught me everything he knew about camping, hunting, and fishing. Add to that Jake and I had frequently camped and I was as close to an expert as you were going to get.
Emmett moved silently over the debris littered on the forest floor, we had long since gotten used to the animals fleeing as they sensed him coming closer. It would at least mean we weren't going to run into any elk. The huge beasts were beautiful, but dangerous. Though, I suppose it could have benefitted Em as a snack.
The note in my little care package from psycho vampires incorporated had said that I was to follow the mad until I reached a cluster of trees that look curiously like a small hut. It was supposed to take me two days to get there. We were nearing the end of day two and I was beginning to feel the muscles in my body tighten with every step I took.
I didn't feel safe, even though I'd back a large machete and had Em with me. I knew this could end very bad for all the humans involved. Moving the anxiety into the compartment I often used to separate being a police officer from everyday life was really the only thing that had kept me from needing Em to drag me.
"Look," Em whispered.
A few yards ahead were trees that, for whatever reason, had grown towards each other in a sort of semi circle. The effect was that their tops had become intertwined and had actually grown back down in some places, creating a nature-made shelter.
I knew that they would be aware by now that I wasn't alone. Fear spiked through me that it would hurt Jake's chances of getting out of here. Calm your fucking self, Swan, I scolded myself.
Taking a few steps forward, Em on alert behind me I started yelling for Jake.
There was no answer and my ears seemed hyper sensitive out here. Every small breeze had my attention like it held the answers to life itself. I dared a few steps more.
Craning my neck forward, I said it more softly this time, "Jake?"
Without warning, a red-headed blur crashed into me. The pain was instant and consuming, a cry escaped me despite desperately trying to force it down. After we hit the ground with a muted thud, she wasted no time trying to grip my hair. Drakly, I laughed, having learned from last time I had tightly coiled my hair onto the top of my head and secured it with bobby pins.
Taking her momentary lack of a plan to my advantage, I grasped the handle of my machete, stood in one swift movement, and severed her left arm. As her deafening, enraged yell tore through the peace of the forest, I snatched up the bloody limb. Emmett flew to my side, standing imposingly behind me.
"Would you like this back?" I waved her arm like a toy, "Where is Jake, you bicth?"
"Don't you know who you are dealing with? You are pathetic. I will have my arm back, along with one of yours," her voice caused frost to flow in my veins.
I spoke each word like a statement, trying to be vigilant for James. He would be here, I knew he would. Just as I thought of him, he appeared, dragging behind him, Jake.
Barely conscious, Jake's body did the best it could to follow behind James, his hair used as a leash. Jake had lost weight, enough that it was alarming, his hair was matted with twigs and leaves throughout it, there were bruises all over his body, and there was copious amounts of dried blood on his legs, hands, and areas of his face.
Resisting the urge to run up to him immediately was so painful I nearly had to rub at my chest. I had to remind myself it would be over if I did that. I had to stick to the plan. Em growled behind me.
"I'll offer you a trade," I began, "Your arm for Jake."
James tilted his head to the side and smiled. It was unnerving how handsome he looked when he smiled even when it was cold.
"Ok, but you won't have him long."
I gave Em Victoria's arm, I knew that it would be the only way to ensure they actually traded because they wouldn't be able to subdue him. They still needed me.
The air stood still as Em moved forward, holding the arm tightly to him. James lifted Jake, who had sat down in the course of the conversation, up by his hair and flung him at Em's feet. At the same time, Em tossed the arm, but over shot it so they would have to search for it.
Once they had raced off to find Victoria's arm, I ran forward and rolled Jake gently onto his back, placing his head in my lap. It was a familiar pose for us. There was a wet rag in my pack in a ziplock bag, just in case, I grabbed it and immediately started trying to clean the blood off his face.
"Get the water, Em, now," I said frantically.
Looking down at his face, I gently ran my fingers along his wet brow. His eyes fluttered and then opened.
"Bella?" his voice was hoarse, but strong "What in the hell are you doing here? You have to leave, they want to kill you."
"Shhh. I know that. I'm here to save you, can you stand?"
"Yea, I think so."
After he took a few deep drinks from our canteen, Em helped Jake to stand. He groaned, but could basically support himself.
"We have to move, now."
Before we could take ten steps, they were on us again.
Em managed to hang onto Jake while fighting off Victoria. From my vantage point on the ground, it seemed like Em was holding his own. Trying not to sit up, I struggled to pinpoint James.
When he grabbed my throat and pulled me up until my feet were kicking wildly in the air, I was shocked. I had really underestimated this situation.
"I'm going to enjoy killing you. Knowing it will hurt him, mmmm it's almost as delicious as your scent," he reached out and ran his tongue from the bottom of my jaw line to my temple.
Both of my hands were occupied, frantically holding on to his hands, trying to gain some ground and bring in some air.
"Oh, don't worry," he teased as he lowered my feet to the ground, "I don't intend your death to be quick."
Though he had released his grip slightly, allowing a thin stream of air into my lungs, he still had a firm enough grip to drag me over to Em and Jake.
"If you don't want her to die in front of you, you'll surrender and do exactly as I tell you."
Em's eyes searched my face for some kind of direction, but in my struggle to breathe I couldn't offer him anything. Reluctantly, he settled back into holding up Jake, whose face was seething with hatred.
"Take this one," James vaguely gestured towards Jake, "Go back to Cullen and tell him where we are and that we have his precious woman."
"Go," I whispered, "Go!"
Emmett's face looked shocked and Jake, now standing unaided, looked ready to split open the world to avoid leaving me behind. With my entire body I willed them to go, until finally Em grabbed Jake, who fought against him, and dragged him away.
Victoria laughed, "That was easy."
James released me and I feel, hard, to the ground coughing a sputtering. They were embracing each other laughing and talking about their plans for me. A knot grew in the pit of my stomach as I listened. Hoping they were too involved in each other to notice, I tried to crawl away.
"No you don't," James reached out and snatched up my arm, pulling it out of socket.
I screamed and tears ran down my face.
"You won't try that again, will you human?"
Vigorously I shook my head. I certainly would not. It was stupid to have sent Emmett and Jake away. What had I been thinking? I could only hope, somehow, someone saved me before it was too late.
James backhanded me, smiling down as I lay on my side, stunned and bleeding. I was certain he broke my nose and possibly my jaw. My tears stung the small cuts the smack had left behind. I wouldn't give him the satisfaction of begging.
"Do you still love your precious Edward now? Now that you see what he created?"
My heart felt cold as I refused to answer him. Victoria came up behind me and ran her fingers gently along my neck. "Such a pity," she sounded almost sincere. She held out her hand to me, as though she wanted to help me up. Hesitantly, I took it. Once I was standing, she examined my fingers, just before taking my index finger and snapping it. Her maniacal laughed echoed in my head.
Just when I thought I could take no more of their abuse, I heard a crashing noise through the woods. With what strength I had, I looked up and saw Jake and Em coming at the camp from opposite directions. Jake had my machete and, before she saw it coming , had sunken it deeply into Victoria's chest. Having disabled her, Jake ran towards me.
Em and James were locked together, mouths snapping at each other, like two men in a wrestling match. James was struggling against Em's enormous strength. As I watched their fight, Jake scooped me up, but then stumbled and almost dropped me.
"Bells, can you stand? I can't carry us both," he sighed as he sat me on my feet.
Feeling my footing and realizing I only had one shoe at this point, I assessed the situation. A few possibly broken ribs, two broken fingers, bruises all along my neck, sore trachea making it slightly hard to breathe, cuts all over, and I was pretty sure my collar bone was broken. It was going to be touch going.
Nodding at Jake, we clasped hands and took off as fast as we could.
Ten minutes into our get away I heard Emmett screaming and the hair on my body stood on end. Shortly followed was the sound of the breeze through the brush, but I knew it wasn't the breeze. Automatically I shifted Jake behind me in a protective position.
Like he materialized there, em showed up on the other side of Jake.
"He got lose," he growled.
"It's ok, let's just stay tightly together and try to make it out of here."
We walked on in silence, each of us trying to kee the other safe. A noise I couldn't quite place licked at my ears.
"What is that?" I asked.
Jake whipped around and looked behind us, before I could stop him, he stood in front of me. The sickening crunching sound of a knife through flesh greeted my ears like a sinister visitor. Jake fell to the ground in front of me and the woods again rang with the gleeful laugh of monsters.
"We'll find you Isabella, you'll never be safe. We'll give you three days, then we will start again. No one you love will be safe."
Then the woods were silently apart from my own sobs.
I dropped to my knees and hovered over Jake, trying to figure out what to do. My hands shook as they assessed the wound. If I pulled out the machete he'd bleed out right here, but if I left it in I didn't know if he would survive either. All my willpower left me as I wept beside Jake.
"Bells," it was barely audible, but it was Jake.
I grabbed his hands and laid beside him in the dirt, moss and grass, getting as close to his face as I could.
"Bells, it's not your fault. Not any of it. Don't you blame yourself."
"Jake, please," it was all I could manage before the tears took over again.
With what little strength remained in the man who had always been so strong, so large, Jake leaned in towards my face. Placing one hand gently against my cheek and wiping away a tear he placed his lips gently on mine and held us there.
"Bells, I love you. Always have."
And with that, he was gone.
"Jake? Jake? Jake!"
The realization struck me as I beat against his chest trying to wake him up. He couldn't be dead. Em wrapped himself around me and drug me up away from Jake. Ignoring my broken bones, I thrashed and thrashed against him. Even in death Jake had left me with warmth.
"He's gone, Bells, he's gone. We have to call dad. We have to. Come on, Bells," Em tried to get me to calm down.
"No. No. No. No. No. No!"
He sat me back down and I scurried across the ground and put my arms around Jake and just laid there.
I didn't notice when the police began to arrive or when Em disappeared, no longer able to handle the scent of humans. It was just me and Jake. No one could convince me to move. Mike was kneeled beside me, gently telling me something that I thought had to do with Charlie. I just couldn't let go. If I let go of Jake, I would surely die.
"Has anyone assessed her injuries," a voice that sounded indistinctly familiar asked.
"No. No one can get her to leave Jake."
Mike's voice seemed worried, tense, sad. I was amazed I registered it at all. I was spiraling in my own rage and grief. All these years I thought our break up had been mutual, I certainly hadn't love him that way, not enough. Jake had loved me all this time. All this time. He had died to save me. His death was swallowing me with him.
"Bella! Bella! Get out of my way!"
My Dad plowed through the crowd, not bothering to announce himself as sheriff or be careful of the crime scene. As he came into view, I saw his hand fly up to his mouth and all of the air rush out of him. To be on my level, he got on all fours on the other side of Jake.
"Bella, you have to let Jake go," he cajoled.
I held on tighter and closed my eyes, the scent of blood and Jake filling my nose.
"Come on sweetheart, let him go. You can't help him this way."
After many failed attempts, they finally called in Edward.
His face was like a dream. His cold, hard, hands grabbed mine and unraveled me from Jake. I didn't fight him. He jerked his head to the side motioning the paramedics that it was ok to bring over the bed. Gently, he sat me down.
"I'm so sorry, Bella."
As he started to walk away I reached out for him and called his name. I needed him. I needed them all.
Gratefully, he wrapped his arms around me and there, in his arms, I mourned the loss of my life.